Join James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici on an epic quest searching for the lost city of Atlantis premieres on National Geographic on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 9/8c
By Gabrielle Pantera
HOLLYWOOD CA (Hollywood Daily Star) 2017/28/1 – “I thought it would be amazing to investigate the leading theories about Atlantis and try to separate myth from fact,” says filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici. “When I had a chance to work with James Cameron on this, it made the whole project just about the best kind of adventure I could imagine. Atlantis is one of those magical words that immediately sparks the imagination. It conjures up the sense of a lost civilization and a sunken city, a kind of ancient Camelot.”
“Because there are so many books and movies on Atlantis, people forget that Atlantis is mentioned by only one ancient writer…4th century B.C. Greek philosopher, Plato,” says Jacobovici. “But the Greeks tended to make up names for people. Meaning, what Plato called Atlantis, may not be what the Atlanteans called themselves. So, basically, we went back to the source, Plato, and then consulted literally hundreds of academic books and papers to see whether there was a synchronicity between Plato’s story and history. Also, we involved leading authors and academics who have been studying the matter for years. People such as Prof. Richard Freund from the University of Hartford, Spanish author Georgeos Diaz-Montexano, historian Robert Ishoy and Charles Pellegrino, who wrote a landmark book on the subject. We also involved veteran marine archaeologist, Dr. Ralph Pedersen.”
In Atlantis Rising executive producer James Cameron and three-time Emmy-winning filmmaker Simcha] Jacobovici follow a group of archeologists, scientists and historians as they set out to search for the possibly mythical Atlantean civilization. Using the stories from Plato’s Timaeus and Critias as clues, with cutting edge technology they explore the Atlantic ocean, Greece and the Mediterranean.
“We set out to investigate the most interesting theories that argue that there is some kind of history behind the myth of Atlantis,” says James Cameron.
“Plato says that Atlantis was a very highly evolved civilization that was destroyed overnight in some kind of natural disaster,” says Jacobovici. “He also says that Atlantis had a powerful navy and tried to dominate the Mediterranean all the way into the Atlantic. One of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in human history happened in Santorini, modern day Greece. Santorini was also home to the ancient Minoans. One of the leading Atlantis theories is that the Minoans were the Atlanteans and the volcanic eruption some 3500 years ago is what destroyed them.”
“That has to be our starting point,” says Jacobovici. “From there, we sailed west all the way past Gibraltar, and got as far as the Azores. Logistically, this is such a complicated film involving shooting on land, in the air and underwater, that we needed to have a very specific idea of what we were doing. The producers had to divide responsibilities for technologies and locations. So, my fellow producers Yaron Niski, Felix Golubev and I divided the various responsibilities. That’s the only way we were able to cover so much ground in a relatively short period of time.”
“On land, we used spectral imaging to decipher 4000 year-old cave drawings,” says Jacobovici. “Basically, the images had faded and we brought in experts that photographed the nearly invisible images with various frequencies of light, such as infrared. The result is that we brought back to life images that are thousands of years old. They revealed pictures of boats, ports and harbors. These gave us a kind of map to follow in our investigation. Under water, we shot in 6k and we used sonar and ROVs, besides the divers of course.”
“This is the world’s most sophisticated and extensive search ever made,” says team leader and archaeologist Richard Freund, a professor from the University of Hartford. While exploring on the Atlantic side of the Strait of Gibraltar they discovered six ancient anchors. “These anchors could be 3,500 to 4,000 years old and establish a harbor in the Atlantic, where I didn’t even dare dream to find anchors,” says Jacobovici. “It’s easier to find a needle in a haystack than Bronze Age anchors in the Atlantic.”
“Everyone knows about the pyramids in Egypt,” says Jacobovici. “But, how many people know that the Minoans built earthquake resistant buildings and had flush toilets 3500 years ago? How many people realize that there are dozens of Stonehenge-like structures on Malta that are older than the pyramids? Or that there are hundreds of temples on the island of Sardinia, that almost perfectly match Plato’s description of Atlantean architecture?”
Atlantis Rising was shot over a course of 51 days in Santorini, Malta, Sardinia, Southern Spain, and the Azores, plus diving expeditions.
Atlantis Rising is executive produced by James Cameron, Simcha Jacobovici and Yaron Niski. For National Geographic, Matt Renner is executive producer and vice president, production; and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.